News today that the father-son founders of GMB Capital have pled guilty to fraud and will spend five years in jail. What did these guys do? They promised investors that they’d trade their money using super-secret algorithms invented by the farther, MIT professor Gabriel Bitran , and instead gave the money to Walter Noel’s fund of funds Tremont Group, which in turn shoveled it over to Bernie Madoff.
So the Bitrans are guilty of telling investors that they’d employ one trading strategy but instead, they simply entrusted the money to a fund of funds group which, unfortunately was run by Walter Noel.
Walter Noel promised investors that he’d place their money with a meticulously selected group of other hedge funds, each managed by individuals scrupulously vetted by Noel and his experts. Instead, he did no due diligence, he used no other hedge funds, turned everything over to a single fund, the Madoff Scam LLC, and lost everything.
“The Bitrans’ funds suffered losses of more than $140 million. The men paid themselves as much as $16 million in management fees over the life of the businesses and recovered $12 million of their own investments when the funds were doing poorly, the U.S. said, adding that the two discussed their scheme in e-mail exchanges.”
Noel and his co-conspirators lost billions, paid themselves hundreds of millions of dollars, and have paid back something like $50 million of that, leaving them plenty of money to maintain the Noel lifestyle, keep their multiple residence, jet and cruise around the world and buy NYC townhouses for the five Noel fillies.
Walt seems to be shaping up as the Greenwich version of Jon Corzine; funny, he doesn’t look smart enough or have secrets enough to pull that off.